Summary: God brings healing at the point of greatest need.
Max Lucado tells a story about Chippie the parakeet. He says: Chippie never saw it coming. One second he was peacefully perched in his cage. The next he was sucked in, washed up, and blown over.
The problems began when Chippie's owner decided to clean his cage with a vacuum cleaner. She removed the attachment from the end of the hose and stuck it in the cage. The phone rang, and she turned to pick it up. She'd barely said '”hello” when sssopp! Chippie got sucked in.
The bird’s owner gasped, put down the phone, turned off the vacuum, and opened the bag. There was Chippie – still alive, but stunned. Since the bird was covered with dust and soot, she grabbed him and raced to the bathroom, turned on the faucet, and held Chippie under the running water. Then, realizing that Chippie was soaked and shivering, she did what any compassionate bird owner would do. She reached for the hair dryer and blasted the pet with hot air. Poor Chippie never knew what hit him.
A few days after the trauma, the reporter who'd initially written about the event contacted Chippie's owner to see how the bird was recovering. “Well,” she replied, “Chippie doesn't sing much anymore. He just sits and stares.”
Lucado notes: “It's hard not to see why. Sucked in, washed up, and blown over – that's enough to steal the song from the stoutest heart.”
One of the things I’ve come to embrace in my 43 years of following Jesus and it’s something that has been reinforced in my 28 years as an ordained minister is that everyone has hurts. I have hurts and you have hurts. No one sails through life untouched. No one really leads a charmed fairy-tale life.
Everybody in this room has experienced tremendous hurt, and many of us still suffer from the scars. We don’t all look like it, but everyone has hurts.
Job sums up the way many of us have felt about the hurts in our lives. Job 7:16 – “I despise my life; I would not live forever. Let me alone; my days have no meaning.” Job is literally saying, “I hate my life. My life is meaningless. I hurt so badly that I don’t want to live anymore.”
The worst hurts are those that don’t heal by themselves. Some hurts heal with the passing of time. Some hurts leave lasting pain. Left to themselves, they never heal.
I’m talking about hurts like rejection, betrayal, abuse, and injustice. These hurts, if left over time, will fester. There is a need for healing but they just don’t heal by themselves.
Most of us are familiar with Job’s story. He was a wealthy man who was well-respected and was faithful in his worship of God. Everything was taken away from. His children were killed and his flocks and herds were destroyed in what we call today “natural disasters.” On top of that, Job contracted a severe case of painful boils that afflicted him from the top of his head to the bottom of his feet. His wife was a nagging and negative woman. No wonder that he despaired of his life.
But something incredible happened. By the end of the book of Job, we see that something miraculous occurred. Job had wrestled with his assumptions about God and reached a point where he understood God better than he did before. God brought healing to his life. Job 42:12a – The Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the former part.
I am not saying that God will heal your hurts exactly the same as he did Job’s but I am convinced that he will bring healing for your hurts according to your specific need. Ps. 147:3 – He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. He desires to trade your sorrows for joy.
For those who grieve and whose wounds are deep, God wants, according to Is. 61:3 – To bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.
King David knew what it means to hurt. Yet he writes in Ps. 103:1-5 – Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. 2 Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits— 3 who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, 4 who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, 5 who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
That passage is our focus scripture this morning. I want us to see how God heals the hidden wounds in our lives – the wounds of guilt, discouragement, anxiety, and weariness. God brings healing at the point of greatest need.